- The Washington Times - Friday, August 28, 2020

Rep. Sean Casten went on a Twitter rant against “fragile masculinity” Thursday after facing backlash for comments he made blaming gun ownership on “small genitals.”

The Illinois Democrat came under fire earlier this week after he was captured during a recent online forum with students apparently mocking gun owners.

“If you are a constitutional originalist, unless you’re a member of a well-regulated militia, tell me why you need to own a gun?” the congressman said in a video of the exchange shared by his Republican challenger, former state Rep. Jeanne Ives.

“Having small genitals is not a sufficient reason to own a gun,” Mr. Casten said in the video.

In a statement on her website, Ms. Ives slammed the congressman’s comments and compared him to an “overgrown frat boy.”

“On behalf of women everywhere: overgrown frat boys are not cool,” she wrote. “They are pathetic, and they can’t be trusted to make sound decisions on other people’s lives. It is clear he is not the moderate we were sold in 2018. It’s well past time that Sean Casten answered for his deeply concerning rhetoric and radical policy positions.”

In a 37-tweet screed Thursday, Mr. Casten complained that his “joke” had triggered an onslaught of “right-wing hate.”

“[L]ast week, I made a (pretty funny, I must admit) joke about the toxic-masculinity that has infected this whole debate. Which apparently drove the right wing nutjobs up the wall,” he wrote. “So they did what they do. They got their fear-and-noise machine fired up, telling people how horrible I am. And for the last 48 hours, my office phones have been ringing off the hook.

“The callers (invariably men) are using every four letter word to yell at our (largely female) staff and interns,” he continued. “Because they have been trained to believe that their fragile masculinity needs to be defended, and that is an appropriate response.”

Ms. Casten explained that he supports a ban on “assault weapons” and universal background checks on gun purchases. He also stated that the premise of owning guns for the purpose of self-defense is “laughably stupid.”

“We have more guns than cars. That is excessive, and obscene,” he wrote.

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